Criminal Defese Attorneys in Los Angeles have to be mindful of police misconduct being a reality. A Pitchess Motion, previously discussed in the Criminal Law Blog, is a method through which defense lawyers are able to access prior evidence of police misconduct through personnel records. Here is an example of a recent misconduct case which led tp felony charges being dismissed.
In the last six months, the media, politicians and law enforcement officials have increased their attention on gang activity in and around Los Angeles County. This has led to a number of arrests, usually involving drug and/or violent crime. However, a major drug case took a turn when a man arrested on drug charges and accused of being a gang member was seemingly "set up" by the police who arrested him.
The man was arrested on drug charges, as police alleged that during a chase he threw away a bag containing cocaine and crack. However, it was revealed in court that a surveillance camera in the apartment the man was chase into showed evidence favoring the defense. The video showed that it took police over 20 minutes to find the drugs they said they saw thrown away. It also recorded audio of the police making comments about changing the report, as one officer is quoted as saying "Be creative in your writing [of the report]" and another officer acknowledging the comment.
As police and law enforcement officials are under a great deal of stress to prosecute drug matters and to stop gang activity, matters such as this will arise on occasion. Defending the rights of the accused is vital, as police reports may or may not be completely accurate in terms of detailing the arrests, charges, evidence and so forth. This individual may have gone to jail for many years with such a conviction, both possession and gang membership, and it all could have been based on faulty police reports. The actual charge was possession with intent to sell, which carries jail time, fines, probation and more.
The individual charged lived in fear for a year of jail time. However, the police offered the man a two-year jail sentence if he plead guilty. Speaking with an attorney before agreeing to any deal with law enforcement officials is vital, as it saved this man jail time and a potentially ruined life for drug charges.
Tagged as: california criminal laws
Comments:John Parr on July 1, 2008 at 1:07 p.m. wrote:
Dangerous gang members arrested along with over 200 others who were wanted for violent crimes in Operation Falcon 08. This massive effort was lead by the U.S. Marshals Service intended to catch people wanted on warrants for violent crimes, sex offenses and other felonies. At the same time another massive law enforcement operation targeting violent street gangs in Los Angeles was taking place. Seventy members and associates of the Drew Street clique of the Avenues street gang have been named in a federal racketeering indictment. The leadership of the Drew Street gang
Eisner Gorin LLP has been recognized as one of the best U.S. law firms, based on the experience, professionalism, and ethics of its criminal defense lawyers and attorneys. We aggressively defend clients in all Southern California courtrooms on state and federal charges, including DUI, DMV, misdemeanor, felony, juvenile cases, in the following communities and courthouses.